March 13 2017

“…it’s because he wants to stay inside.”

Tonight please read chapters 21, 22, and 23 of To Kill a Mockingbird.   Then write your response.  Please consider the following questions:

  • What passage or passages strike you as interesting or singular and why?
  • What questions do you want to discuss with the class tomorrow?
  • Why do you think these questions may generate interesting discussion?


Please note!  If school is cancelled tomorrow due to snow, you should continue reading, per the following schedule:   Read and blog about Chapters 24-26 on Tuesday for Wednesday and then finish reading the novel and blog about it for Thursday.

Mockingbird blog #10

Copyright © 2016. All rights reserved.

Posted March 13, 2017 by equinson in category To Kill a Mockingbird

28 thoughts on ““…it’s because he wants to stay inside.”

  1. Toa Neil

    In tonight’s reading Tom Robinson is convicted and the Scout is angry that the people voted against him even though he clearly was honest. I also liked the part where they find the food left for them by people that appreciate what he tried to do. Finally I noticed how well the scene where Bob Ewell confronts Atticus at the post office and Atticus leaves without raising a fist. Even thought most people would have fought Ewell, and this shows how calm Atticus is.

  2. tarika1

    I was interested in how hard Jem was crushed by the verdict. He even cries about it when in his eyes, he is too old to cry. Although it was kind of obvious that the racist town of Maycomb would have the black man guilty, to Jem it was not as obvious. He thought be the power of bravery and courage that his father taught him, there would be a chance. This shows another case of the destruction of innocence and it can also represent Jem as a mockingbird just like Tom Robinson.

  3. caias1

    In tonight’s reading, one scene that struck me was when the black people of Maycomb delivered large amounts of food to the Finch house as a thank- you to Atticus for defending Tom Robinson. Normally, the white population looks down on the black community, but Atticus really did try to get Tom free of the charges. He is not a “normal” white man, in the sense that he did not let race and skin color stand in his way of justice. He was not desensitized towards Tom for being a black man, and it was probably the first time any black person had met someone like Atticus. Another scene that was very interesting was Aunt Alexandra calling the Cunninghams trash. She tells Scout that she can not have Walter over at all, because he and his family are trash because of their social class.

  4. arihantp1

    I was surprised when Miss Maudie tells Jem that Judge Taylor picked Atticus as Tom’s lawyer to give Tom a fair trial. “’Did it ever strike you that Judge Taylor naming Atticus to defend defend that boy was no accident?’” (pg.289). This showed that Judge Taylor actually cared for Tom and wanted him to have a chance in the trial. Any other lawyer would have thrown the case due to Tom’s skin color, but the Judge knew that Atticus would actually try. Judge Taylor is described as an informal, not caring Judge, but the fact that he chose Atticus for Tom shows that he cares and wants justice to be upheld. Also, Atticus clearly tries his hardest in Tom the case, and in response the colored folks left food by his house as a thank you. This is also shocking since it would be hard for colored people to get food during that time, which shows how thankful they were.

  5. marinas1

    In tonight’s reading I was particularly interested in the way that Harper Lee directly relates the moments before Tom Robinson’s guilt or innocence is decided and the “mad dog” scene from chapters before. Harper Lee writes “A deserted, waiting, empty street, and the courtroom was packed with people. A steaming summer night was no different from a winter morning.” (p.281), obviously alluding to the infamous scene. From these sentences, we readers can determine that something bad is going to happen. In the “mad dog” scene, everything starts out dead silent, the tension constantly building up further and further. This is exactly the same way. Therefore, the outcome of both scenes must be the same, the dog dying when Atticus shoots it, and Tom Robinson being pronounced guilty. This juxtaposition continues as the scene in the courthouse progresses. The author dictates “What happened after that had a dreamlike quality: in a dream I saw the jury return, moving like underwater swimmers…” (p.282) As one way remember, the phrase about moving like an underwater swimmer can also be found in the “mad dog” scene. Scout declares “…I thought [Atticus] moved like an underwater swimmer: time had slowed to a nauseating crawl.” (p.127) At this time in the “mad dog” scene, Atticus is preparing to shoot down the dog. In the scene within the courthouse, the jurors are preparing to announce that Tom Robinson is guilty. In both scenes, we see people acting sluggish when faced with having to do something dreadful. With the juxtaposition of the two scenes, Harper Lee finally gives us the answer to quite the tantalizing of questions: who is the “mad dog” referring to? Finally, we have our answer. The dog is supposed to represent Tom Robinson. Now, this seems quite obvious. It is no coincidence that Harper Lee named the dog Tim Johnson (a name quite similar to Tom Robinson’s). After all, both are helpless in their appointed situations, and can not seem to do anything about the path they are taking in the moment. As the dog could not help dying, Tom Robinson can not help being committed.

    Although this all may be true, there is one point that sparked my attention above all else. This is when Scout says “…it was like watching Atticus walk into the street, raise a rifle to his shoulder and pull the trigger, but watching all the time knowing that the gun was empty.” (p.282) In this way, we can see that in truth, the dog in the “mad dog” scene was done a favor. Atticus had put the poor dog out of its misery. In the courthouse scene, however, it is quite the opposite. When Socut says that the gun is empty, she means that this time, Atticus could not put Tom Robinson out of his misery and get him acquitted. With this empty gun, Atticus had ultimately given Tom Robinson false hope.

    Another incredibly interesting moment in tonight’s reading happens after Tom Robinson is committed, and after Jem begins to cry. When Jem questions how the jury could have had the audacity to commit Tom Robinson, Atticus replies by saying “‘ I don’t know, but they did it. They’ve done it before and they did it tonight and they’ll do it again and when they do it-seems that only children weep.'” (p.285) This reminds me of a quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s novella, “The Little Prince”. The narrator states “Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.” Both quotes demonstrate how adults are more corrupted and, frankly, tend to not understand a concept (such as Tom Robinson’s committal), and simply move on with their lives. On the other hand, children are incredibly innocent and ignorant to the world around them. In this way, they tend to question things and be more intuitive than their “grown-up” counterpart. It’s simply the beauty of an uncorrupted mind.

  6. maddy

    On page three hundred, I found a particular quotation to be of interest. “‘Aunty,’ Jem spoke up, ‘Atticus says you can choose your friends but you sho’ can’t choose your family, an’ they’re still kin to you no matter whether you acknowledge ‘em or not, and it makes you look right silly when you don’t.’” This excerpt transpired amidst Aunt Alexandra expressing her disapproval of Scout conversing of inviting over Walter Cunningham. Aunt Alexandra’s reasoning for her disapproval was because she regards the Cunninghams as trash, and not the Finches’ kind of folks. Rather than praising Scout for being sociable, as Aunt Alexandra once advocated, it is evident that this is not what she had in mind pertinent to the matter at hand. This apparent bias against Walter is due to Aunt Alexandra viewing his family as inferior to her own, and not wanting Scout to one day intermarry with people similar to the Cunninghams. Likewise Jem, I found Aunt Alexandra’s viewpoint to be preposterous. Scout is merely nine-years-old, and befriending Walter Cunningham will not determine her future in such a drastic way. Aunt Alexandra’s behavior in accordance to Scout suggesting inviting over Walter is an additional example in which she portrays an exceeding sense of pride and superiority in her family name. As the incorporated excerpt includes, Aunt Alexandra does not acknowledge parts of the Finch family that she does not concur with, such as Calpurnia and Cousin Joshua. This induces me to furthermore ponder Aunt Alexandra’s true motives for moving to Maycomb. Was the move truly to benefit Jem, Scout, and Atticus, or rather an excuse for Aunt Alexandra to protect the family name?

  7. ivanl

    Something I found very interesting in the reading was the fact that Jem cared so much about the case about Tom Robinson. Aside from the fact that his father was the attorney for Tom Robinson, there was no other relation between Jem and Tom. Jem is a white teenager, Tom is in his 20s and black. I would have expected Jem to be a quite angered about it like Scout was, but I did not expect him to have such strong feelings towards him as to start crying about it. Even before the case, Atticus told both of them that he would have no chance of saving Tom just because he was black, but he was still going to try anyway. Judge Taylor appointed Atticus specifically for this case because he knew he wouldn’t just give up his client’s life just because of his skin color.

  8. charlottes

    In tonight’s reading of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” a passage I was rather interested in was at the end of chapter 22. This is where after the case is closed and Tom Robinson is plead guilty, Bob Ewell runs into Atticus at the post office corner. The author states, “At that moment, Aunt Alexandra came to the door and called us, but she was too late. It was Miss Stephanie’s pleasure to tell us: this morning Mr. Bob Ewell stopped Atticus on the post office corner, spat in his face, and told him he’d get him if it took the rest of his life.” (page 290) Some would think why would Bob Ewell say that if he won the case? But the reason is that Atticus embarrassed and exposed Bob Ewell. When Atticus explained that it was Bob who beat up Mayella, it made Bob look like a bad person. Now everyone in Maycomb knows he is a liar and an abusive father to his nineteen year old daughter. It seems that everyone is concerned about Bob Ewell’s threats. Except Atticus. This worries me because Atticus is who Bob primarily wants to get back at. This made me think that perhaps Atticus is a little frightened, but does not want to show his kids that because he doesn’t want them to worry about him. As much as it surprised me how Atticus reacted, it also didn’t because Atticus is a strong figure in the novel.

  9. eshap

    After the trial, Jem seems more upset about the verdict than Atticus is. He goes home and starts crying, he thought that Atticus would win after proving Mr. Ewell and Mayella wrong. The jury gave their verdict on “circumstantial evidence”, without anything being proved true. Jem saw this as unfair, and questioned everything about the trial throughout chapters 21, 22, and 23. Jem, Scout, and Dill walk over to Miss Maudie’s house, who tries to make Jem understand what happened, and try to calm him down. Except while she’s talking, Miss Maudie doesn’t think Jem understands what she’s saying, and he goes on to say what he thinks. “It’s like bein’ a caterpillar in a cocoon, that’s what it is… Like somethin’ asleep wrapped up in a warm place. I always thought Maycomb folks were the best folks…” (page 288) Miss Maudie responds to Jem by saying that the people in Maycomb are the safest folks, which goes back to being in a cocoon. Maycomb seems to the cocoon, and Jem feels trapped inside until he grows up. Although he is, Atticus still sees him as a child. Maycomb protects Jem from the dangers of the world, and keeps him safe. Jem doesn’t think that he can stay there forever. Jem thought Maycomb’s folks were the best because they were so kind. But they are preventing him from growing up by treating him as a child. He understands a lot, but not enough to be completely mature. When Jem says it’s like “somethin’ asleep”, he’s comparing the state of being asleep to being unaware of the real world. Until the trial, Jem was shielded from what was going on about racism and the law. However, when he watches the trial, he’s exposed to all of this, as if he’s coming out of the cocoon.

    Another part I was interested in was when Aunt Alexandra told Scout she was a problem to her father. Scout had asked her if Walter Cunningham could come over at some point to play or to have dinner, except Aunt Alexandra wouldn’t allow it. She said that he was a bad example and should not be associated with the Finches. She didn’t want Scout learning bad habits from him, especially since she was already a problem. “‘You’re enough of a problem to your father as it is.’ I don’t know what I would have done, but Jem stopped me.” (page 301) After Aunt Alexandra said this, Scout had to taken to Jem’s room, where he attempted to distract her. Scout told Jem that it wasn’t being called a problem that upset her, it was the fact that Aunt Alexandra called Walter trash.

    Why would Scout lash out if she wasn’t upset about being called a problem? She obviously cared for Walter after she stuck up for him at school when the teacher didn’t know his situation. She had already concluded with Atticus that she wasn’t a problem, only slightly at times. But he could always figure out what was wrong. With Walter, who Jem claimed was one kind of folk, people in Maycomb usually avoided them because of their lack of education and money. However, Scout doesn’t see this as important. The Cunninghams are nice, honest people, which is why she wants to be friends with Walter. Having Aunt Alexandra call him trash angered Scout because people were only looking at their education and their wealth, or lack of, instead of their personalities. To her, it didn’t matter whether or not Walter was held back in school, he was always kind to people. It bothered her that people couldn’t see that. Furthermore, Walter was a good example in a  different way. Although he didn’t go to school and was held back, the reason for him not going was to help his father. He took responsibility for his father’s work, helping out when he could. He was learning about business which could help him in life, and he was learning life skills that could not be learned in school. Scout could learn about these things from Walter that Aunt Alexandra couldn’t teach her. The only thing she cared about was turning Scout into the lady.

  10. ilyssal

    I was very impressed how in these chapters the black community shows their support for Atticus. He tried his best in the Tom Robinson trial and as a thank you gift to the Finch family, an abundance of food is delivered to their home. It was also really fascinating to me how Jem was so deeply rooted in her beliefs, even as a young white teenager. Jem was angered about the rights denied to Tom because of his race that tears began to roll down his cheeks. Atticus is a brave man to say he will continue to fight for Tom. After all, the primary reason Atticus was selected to defend Tom Robinson was because he would not judge his client based on the color of their skin.

  11. francescaa

    After reading chapters 21-23 of To Kill A Mockingbird, I found two events particularly interesting. After the trial, Jem was extremely upset by the verdict the court came to. He was appalled by how unfair it was and shocked that people couldn’t see through the color of Tom Robinson’s skin. The thing that shocked me most was when Atticus agreed with his son and started sharing his opinion of what happened in the trial. This is very uncharacteristic of Atticus. Whenever the kids came home upset about something he always had some reasoning behind why the other individual did what they did, but not in this case. He agreed with Jen and Scout opinion of how the trial was unfair from the start, and the people on that jury should be ashamed. “ As you grow older, you’ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don’t forget it- whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, now rich he is, or how fine of a family he comes from, that man is trash.” (p.295). For Atticus to call anyone trash is something I was not expecting, but it helps us understand how passionate Atticus is in this matter.

    An event that showed how much appreciation the negro community had for Atticus was when they brought all kinds of food for him. Their life is already rough, yet they were eternally grateful for Atticus’ efforts. Even though Atticus lost, they appreciate him anyway. I think Harper Lee’s purpose for incorporating this event is to show how negro’s weren’t the “careless, uncivilized” people they were made out to be. Here, she shows how negroes are just as caring as everyone else, and therefore should be treated the same as everyone else in Maycomb.

  12. sofiad1

    I found the part where everyone had given them food particularly intersecting. Atticus had been super touched, but at the same time wanted it to ever happen again. He feels like he should not be this recognized. HE feels that he was really just doing his duty and that he should get no extra recognition.

    1. faithw

      I agree. Atticus is a very modest and noble character. He was moved by having received gifts from people who did not have much of their own. I thought it was odd that the community did not bring food to Tom Robinson’s family. Even Tom Robinson’s father was among those who left food for Atticus.

  13. laurena2

    In these chapters, I found it quite strange how out of Scout and Atticus, Jem was the most upset about Tom Robinson’s conviction. It would make sense for Atticus to be upset about his own case, and Scout, the one who normally fights for her father to be upset about the case, but not Jem. Jem only acted out about his father once and seemed to care much less than Scout. Also, Jem had began to be more isolated from his sister and father due to him getting older. When Jem began to cry, it seemed strange, almost as if all the feelings he was hiding were let go.

    Although many people saw the conviction of Tom Robinson coming, they were trying to put of the idea, much like the judge was trying to put off the idea of Tom Robinson being innocent. In such a racist town, it was known all along that Tom Robinson didn’t have a fair chance of winning his trial.

  14. avae1

    In chapters 21 through 23, I found it fascinating how gracefully Atticus took his defeat. In his heart he knew he would lose the trial, but once he did he didn’t show anger or rage, but was willing to explain to his children why he reacted to the news the way he did. In my opinion, I saw this as very gentlemanly of Atticus. When Bob Ewell threatened him, he refused to carry a gun for protection and left without fear. He stated that the reason for this was because it was in Bob Ewell’s nature to fight back with fiery emotion, and he didn’t want anyone else to feel this emotion, “He had to take it out on somebody and I’d rather it be me than that houseful of children out there. You see?”(p.293) Atticus knew that Bob Ewell beat his children, especially Mayella as proven by the trial, and he felt it was his responsibility in that moment to protect them.

    Since Jem seemed to be the most disappointed of all, I think Atticus used it as a time to teach him and Scout as well a valuable lesson. He showed them how to take losses with dignity and show respect for others even when they don’t show respect for you.

  15. faithw

    In today’s reading of To Kill a Mockingbird, the readers learn that the jury delivered a guilty verdict in the trial of Tom Robinson. Most striking to me was Jem’s reaction. “His face was streaked with angry tears…it ain’t right” (p.284). His crying reveals how he views this conviction as a sign of injustice. I see here the recurring theme of the loss of innocence. Jem lost hope in fairness of the law. “They oughta do away with juries. He wasn’t guilty in the first place and they said he was … You just can’t convict a man on evidence like that – you can’t” (p.295). Additionally, Jem no longer thinks of the people of Maycomb as being great; “I always thought Maycomb folks were the best folks in the world, least that’s what they seemed like” (p.288). Now, Jem views them as racist and unfair beings.

  16. Rebecca F

    In this night’s reading, I was interested in what Aunt Alexandra considered made a man “trash”.
    When Scout wants to call Walter over for dinner, Aunt Alexandra calls him trash. Although she says that the Cunnighams are good folks, she tells Scout that she does not want Scout picking up any of their bad habits.
    Moments prior, Atticus had been telling Jem and Scout about how he believed that any man who was willing to take advantage of the ignorance of a Negro was trash.
    Yet here, Aunt Alexandra calls the Cunninghams trash, because they aren’t a fine family.
    Atticus calls a man trash when they are immoral and commit despicable acts. Aunt Alexandra calls a man trash when they don’t have fine background. The differences in what they consider trash further depicts the differences between Aunt Alexandra and Atticus, a duality that I find intriguing.

  17. Tyler Newby

    During tonight’s reading, we learn that the jury has found Tom Robinson guilty. After Tom was found guilty, Jem began to cry. I found it very mature of him to cry. I was very surprised that he was so surprised that Tom lost. “It was Jem’s turn to cry. His face was streaked with angry tears as we made our way through the cheerful crowd. “It ain’t right,” he muttered.” This scene really shows how similar Jem is to Atticus. Jem cares for all people, no matter their skin color, and believes that everyone deserves justice, as does Atticus.

  18. briannag3

    Two passages tonight stuck in my mind. When Jem cried as Tom was found guilty is one of them. Jem doesn’t find crying acceptable at his age, but I think it was justified. However I was a little taken aback that he had grown to care so much about this case. Also when Bob provoked Atticus. Atticus seemed to be the only person in his household that wasn’t concerned. He just acted so calm about the entire situation.

  19. alexo

    I find it interesting how depressed Jem is about the verdict, but what I find more interesting than that is how surprised he was. it would be normal for him to cry about how unfair and how unjust the verdict was, but he was truly surprised by what had been decided. My best guess for why this is is that although being very smart and already knowing a lot about lawyering from his father, he focuses too much on the case itself. He doesn’t think about the suspect, who’s pressing charges, and the jury. If he had thought about these things it would probably have been obvious to him what would happen, despite Atticus’s best efforts.

  20. George

    Tonight’s reading is unfulfilling due to the conviction of Tom. He is obviously innocent and had an amazing trial lawyer argue tirelessly for him. Atticus worked for so long and so hard to convince the people of this town that this man was not guilty. He asked the jury directly to do their duty and they did not do so. They betrayed the court system and abused their power over a man who was helpless to stop them. They are going to kill someone just bacause he’s black. A scene that i would like to discuss would be when They finally get the verdict and we see the disappointment in all the people that were defending and sympathise with Tom

  21. Kathrynr

    A passage in last nights reading that I found interesting was when Jem was talking about the case with Reverend Sykes. This was while the jury was out and they still did not know the verdict. Jem really zeroes in on the legal rules surrounding Mayella’s attack. Jem uses this as evidence to say that there is no logical way Tom could be found guilty. After Jem explains the laws he is stopped by Reverend Sykes who says, “Mr. Jem..This ain’t a polite thing for little ladies to hear…Aw, she doesn’t know what we’re talkin’ about, said Jem. Scout, this is too old for you ain’t it? It most certainly is not, I know every word your saying. Perhaps I was too convincing, because Jem hushed and never discussed the subject again.” (p.279) This is just one of many moments in the books where Scout has shown how smart she is. Both Scout and Jem are truly smart children. This is because they live with Atticus. The fact that Jem knows all of this shows how interested he is in the case, and the law. Scout being able to understand shows how much she pays attention. Later on Atticus is sitting with Scout and Jem and they all stay there discussing Tom Robinson’s case. The children really take an interest int the case and are able to add their ideas to the conversation. This really shows what kid of family the Finches are.

    1. eshap

      I agree, Jem and Scout have been influenced greatly by Atticus. Scout says that she even prefers to be around men rather than ladies.

  22. margauxc

    Throughout chapters twenty-one through twenty-three, Harper Lee weaves into the plot memorable quotes which truly depict the characterizations of Maycomb’s residents. During the trial, Scout recalls, “I remembered something Jem had once explained to me when he went through a brief period of psychical research: he said if enough people- a stadium full, maybe- were to concentrate on one thing, such as setting a tree afire in the woods, that the tree would ignite of its own accord. I toyed with the idea of asking everyone below to concentrate on setting Tom Robinson free, but thought if they were as tired as I, it wouldn’t work.” (p. 280-281). The significance of this quote is that it perfectly portrays Jem and Scout’s naiveté when it comes to their perspectives on Maycomb. Both Finches believe that rectitude will overpower prejudice when the jury reads out the verdict. Jem and Scout were raised by Atticus to believe that virtue is superior to prejudice- that justice is blind and that the jury is just. Yet, in this scene, before Scout and Jem are exposed to the truth behind Maycomb’s prejudices, Scout expresses childhood innocence which slightly eases the tension of the novel’s plot. In addition, this quote emphasizes how much Scout looks up to her elder brother. The quote itself conveys the importance of determination, an underlying motif which has been present in earlier chapters.

  23. alekhya

    In chapters 21-23 the most intriguing section was Miss. Maudie’s insight on the matter of the case and Atticus’ part in it. Another interesting part was how strong Atticus’ emotions are towards racism. When Jem is distant and sulking about the case, Miss Maudie says to Jem and Scout that Atticus was not the only one who did something to help Tom robinson, but Judge Taylor as well. His decision to appoint to Atticus to defend Tom Robinson shows us that he does care for Tom Robinson and does want to see him exonerated. He knew that by choosing Atticus the chances of it happening were a lot higher. “Did it ever strike you that Judge Taylor naming Atticus to defend that boy was no accident? That Judge Taylor might have had his reasons for naming him?” (289)

    Whether it has to do with the eloquence of his words or his fatherly manner, Atticus’ words about racism are those of power and influence. When talking to his son about why the jury named Tom Robinson as guilty, he refers once more to racism as a disease that transforms the reasonable white men of Maycomb county into trash. “Those are twelve reasonable men in everyday life, Tom’s jury, but you saw something come between them and reason. You saw the same thing that night in front of the jail.” (295) He continues to talk about racism with vehemence and throws his disgust towards racism into his words. “As you grow older you’ll see white men cheat black men everyday of your life, but let me tell you something and don’t you forget it-whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes, that white man is trash.” (295)

  24. willowm

    I was interested in the section where many African Americans left food for Atticus after he lost the trial. He was extremely grateful because he knew that no one was experiencing easy times and that they needed the food for themselves. This is why he urged Calpurnia to make sure this doesn’t happen again. This also shows the respect African Americans had for Atticus defending one of their own, even though he lost.

  25. cameronl3

    I found Jem being so interested in the Tom Robinson case very interesting to me. Although his father was the attorney for Tom Robinson, there was no other relationship between Tom and Jem. He is a white teenager, while Tom is in his 20s and black. As a reader I would think that Jem would be frustrated by the trial, I did not expect him to have such strong feelings to start crying about it. Even prior case, Atticus told both of them that he would have no chance of saving Tom just because he was black, but he was still going to try anyway. Judge Taylor appointed Atticus specifically for this case because he knew he would not just give up his client’s life just because of his skin color.

  26. adam

    Jem’s involvement and interest in the court case was very unusual and captivating. He did not know Robinson by any means. They are almost opposites of eachother, but opposites do attract. He had no relation to Robinson, yet was very emotionally focused and involved in the case. This shows that he truly cares and has his own opinion on the case, and shows of what he had serious interests in. He is very much against racism and assumptions, as far as we know. He did not think it was fair for him to be judged and accused because of his race. Jem’s emotions were strong during the case.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *